Date of completion: 6th September 2005
Genre: Complete and utter Fluff.
Time: New year, 1996. Order of the Phoenix.
Word count: 2261
Pairing(s): some Sirius/Remus
Characters: REMUS, Sirius, Harry, Ron, Ginny, Fred, George, Tonks
Disclaimer: The characters and the place all belong to J.K. Rowling, and I am making no profit from this at all. Sadly.
Summary: Remus finds fun in the snow, and discovers he doesn't have to be ashamed of his alter-ego.
Have no idea if this works in regards to Hogwarts school terms, but most normal British schools start back about the 9th of January. And I have no idea if 12 Grimmauld Place has a garden. If either thing's wrong... ah, well, it's not meant to be a great long meaningful fic ;) I can't believe I'm writing this in September, but Remus wouldn't let me ignore it. It's so candy-coated I think it's been cooking in Willy Wonka's factory for a week or more.
It was the sixth of January, and Christmas was officially over. Almost.
The decorations had come down at number twelve Grimmauld Place, and the house was back to its normal, dingy state. The smell of pine tree and cinnamon still hung quite heavily in the air, though, and a few bits and pieces of tinsel were still draped around some pictures in the hall, unnoticed as of yet.
Remus silently made his way through the living room, sniffing at the smell of gingerbread that was seeping up from the kitchen. Apparently Mrs Weasley wasn't quite ready to let Christmas go. He wasn't either, it had been too much fun this year. He couldn't remember a Christmas quite like it, not since he'd been a little boy. He looked forward to many more Christmases like this.
It was a new year now, time for new beginnings, time for leaving the past behind. He felt good about it. Now this was the hardest part.
He took a breath and walked through into the dining room and then to the back door. He could already hear the laughter of the Weasley children, and Harry. It had been snowing earlier, and they were making the most of it out in the garden.
The back door was slightly ajar, and Remus peered out through the crack. Harry, Ron and Ginny were adding the finishing touches to a rather impressive snowman, complete with coal eyes, a scarf, and a hat that Remus believed to belong to Arthur.
"One more thing!"
Remus looked over to see Tonks, topped with a rainbow-coloured hat and scarf, walking towards the snowman with a carrot in her hand. The nose, of course! He smiled to himself. He hadn't built a snowman in ages!
George pulled a camera from inside his coat and urged Harry, Tonks and his brother and sister to gather around the snowman so he could take a photo.
Fred was there too, of course, as was silly Padfoot, barking and chasing the snowballs that were being thrown for him.
Remus stood back and watched this for a moment, this idiotic man that he loved so much, running around like a hyperactive puppy, his fur damp and sticking up at all angles. Someone had put a scarf around his neck. He laughed inside at the sight.
"Hey, Snuffles!" Tonks laughed, once George had taken the photo. She held up a particularly large snowball in her gloved hands. "Catch!"
Remus shook his head as Tonks lobbed the snowball and Sirius jumped up in the air, catching it between his teeth and shaking it until it fell apart. It was nice to see him having fun. He'd really enjoyed himself over the holiday, and Remus could start to see the return of the old, light-hearted Sirius he'd known. Of course it wouldn't happen overnight, but it was happening.
He grinned broadly as Fred threw another snowball down the garden, and Sirius charged after it, tripping over something and going head-over-paws into the snow, landing on his back with his legs stuck up in the air. He quickly rolled over and got back to his feet, shaking the snow from his fur.
Then he spotted Remus and trotted down the garden towards him, nudging the door open with his nose to step inside it. With a small shake, and a great amount of dripping of melting snow, he transformed back into his human form.
"You've come out then," he said to Remus with a smile. "Are you sure about this? I didn't mean to hound you... hound! hehe! um... hassle you about it. You don't have to do this just for me. I can understand why you're nervous, but I think it'll be OK."
Remus looked at him then out at the others now engaged in a snowball fight. Ginny was yelling at the boys to mind the snowman. He hadn't played in the snow since before Harry was born. It would be nice... but if something went wrong... if he lost control... He never did, but he never really saw anyone...
Sirius seemed to read his mind and looked down at him reassuringly as he stroked his cheek. "You'll be fine, you've had your potion," he said. "Now come outside." He leaned down to kiss Remus on top of the head then turned back into a dog, and pawed the door open, waiting for Remus to walk ahead of him.
Remus took a deep breath and stepped out onto the doorstep. The air was cold and crisp, and the sky was clear now. The stars were bright and the snow was shimmering in the light of the full moon.
With another encouraging look from Sirius, Remus stepped down out of the doorway, flinching at the coldness beneath his paws. So this was it, his ex-pupils were finally going to see the side of him he had always kept hidden from them. They hadn't noticed him yet; they were too engaged in the snowball fight. He stood and watched them for a while, waiting for Sirius to do something to introduce his presence.
Sirius nuzzled him with his nose, and licked his ear, then nudged him to walk with him down the garden. Remus took small, nervous steps, looking down at the snow as he walked. His stomach was turning over and he was battling his nerves and his shame with his appearance. Sirius had told him earlier that evening not to worry about that, because his winter coat was nice and fluffy, and he looked very cute. Remus wasn't so sure.
He realised the shrieking and laughing had stopped, and he halted, lifting his eyes.
Ron was apparently the first to spot him, and he stopped with his hand raised to throw a snowball at George. Harry was the next to turn and stare.
Then Tonks, who, like other members of the Order, had seen him like this before, smiled at him. "Wotcher, Wolfy!" she said, winking at him.
The twins stared, and Fred didn't duck in time as a snowball thrown by Harry hit him in the ear.
Ginny dropped the snowball she was holding, and stared wide-eyed. "Aww!" she squealed and ran forward to crouch in front of Remus. She calmed herself then, and smiled at him. "I'm glad you came down," she said a little breathlessly.
Remus nodded to her, feeling quite embarrassed, and glanced to his side, where Sirius was managing to look very self-satisfied, even in dog-form.
"That's bloody weird..." Ron said, still gaping as he walked towards Remus. "I mean, it's cool, and I'm glad you came out... but... well, it's not every day you see your old teacher like that."
"Quite an improvement on the last time we saw you at the full moon," Harry added, smiling awkwardly, like he wasn't sure if it was the right thing to say.
Remus looked up at him and smiled. It was an improvement. He wasn't going to try to kill anyone tonight. He felt no urge to with the potion in him. Everything was all right. He could relax now.
Sirius nudged him again before he started walking further down the garden. Remus followed, sniffing the fresh air. He could smell the plants, the bark of the tree at the end of the garden, the clean scent of the snow, some dodgy aftershave on one of the twins, gingerbread from the kitchen, wet Padfoot walking beside him... He looked at him and felt his tail wagging.
Assured that Remus was all right, Sirius bounded back towards the others, alternately barking and pushing at the snow with his nose, sneezing every now and then.
Remus came to stand beside Tonks as Harry threw a snowball for Sirius to chase. He wasn't quite ready for joining Sirius and making a total fool of himself in front of his old pupils. But he was there, and they were there, and they were all right about it. He felt silly now for having doubted that.
"It's great that you came out," Tonks said, looking down at him with a smile. "Everyone wanted you here, we're having fun, it's not right for you to be stuck up there in your room." She reached down and ruffled the fur on his head. "You don't need to hide away," she laughed, tugging gently on his left ear, "you're too cute when you're like this not to be seen!"
Remus growled softly at her and smacked her across the leg with his tail, which only made her laugh all the more.
He looked up as Sirius barked at him, bouncing excitedly, tail wagging madly. He couldn't say no to that. Forgetting his dignity, he ran towards him and kicked snow up in his face. Sirius barked again and pounced on him, knocking him to the floor.
Remus felt snow go in his ears as Sirius pinned him down and playfully bit at his neck before something distracted him and he scrambled over the top of Remus to run down the garden again.
"Mum's made gingerbread men!" Ginny announced, coming out of the back door with a large plate in her hand.
Remus got to his feet and shook the snow off himself as everyone ran towards the plate of steaming biscuits. He remained where he was. Eating like this was always rather embarrassing and he never did it in the company of anyone other than Sirius. He was sure some gingerbread men would be left over in the morning, and he'd have some then.
He shook his head again as Sirius sat and perched up on his hind legs for Ginny's amusement, and she laughed and put a gingerbread man in his mouth. Sirius took it gently then trotted back to Remus. He bit the biscuit in half and dropped the head and torso of the gingerbread man at Remus' feet.
Remus smiled at him and picked it up carefully. It was still hot.
"...antlers..." he heard Fred say from by the door. They were all whispering about something and it looked very suspicious.
"...I'll get some ... wait there." Tonks disappeared back into the house, giggling.
Remus looked curiously at Sirius, who looked puzzled, still with gingerbread legs between his teeth. He grunted softly then ate it.
Remus chewed on his gingerbread and watched as the twins, Ginny, Harry and Ron kept whispering amongst themselves. What were they doing? They were up to something.
A few moments later Tonks came out of the house, with a string of red tinsel in her hand and walked towards them. "Sorry about this," she said with a grin, and before Remus knew what was happening she had grabbed his tail and tied the tinsel around it. "I know Christmas is over, but we can't pass this up." She stuck a pair of plastic antlers on top of Sirius' head.
George came towards them with a camera held up menacingly. Remus started to back away. He hated having his photo taken at the best of times, but looking like this?! They just couldn't, it was too embarrassing!
Sirius, however, seemed to find it very amusing. He barked and wagged his tail, pawing encouragingly at Remus.
"Please?" Ginny said. "We have to have this for the photo album!"
"Go on," Harry urged. "Just for us."
Remus looked at them and tried to remain defiant. Sirius kept wagging his tail and lay down beneath the tree, glancing to his side to tell Remus to do the same.
Remus sighed. It was no good, he was outnumbered. And it was rather flattering that they wanted a photo of him looking like this. He gave in and lay down beside Sirius, arranging his tail so the tinsel showed nicely. He couldn't help but be amused. Sirius looked so silly with those antlers!
George crouched down to get a better angle for the photo.
"Wait! One more thing!" Fred shouted, running out of the back door with his wand.
"Fred, you're not meant to..." Ginny began, and Remus would have told him off himself if he'd been able to do anything more than bark.
"Shush!" Fred aimed the wand at the tree above their heads. "Mobiliphoradendron," he said, and a second later a piece of mistletoe had broken from the branch and come to hover above Remus and Sirius.
Remus frowned and looked at Sirius worriedly. What did that mean? Did that mean that the other secret he'd been keeping from the children was out? Had Sirius told them?
"You think we all don't know about that?" George laughed, and when Remus looked up, all of them were smiling. "Now, say cheese! Relax, you look constipated!"
The flash of the camera lit up the snow in a bright glare that made Remus blink once it had passed. George wanted to take some more photos of the snowman then, so everyone followed him back there. Tonks smiled at Remus before she walked after them.
She of course had known for quite some time that he and Sirius were lovers, but he'd never dreamed of daring to tell the children he'd taught less than two years before! How did they know, anyway? It didn't matter, he thought, they knew, and they didn't mind. He no longer had anything to hide from those he was most fond of.
Sirius looked up at the mistletoe then leaned towards him and licked him on the nose. Remus nuzzled him firmly. Everything was good in the world, tonight. In a few more minutes, he might even start chasing snowballs.
Illustration by jacquesmoineau